Sanitary accommodation should be designed and available for all types of users. In order to comply with the Doc M building regulations at least one wheelchair accessible unisex washroom should be provided within a building.
In today’s less-abled washroom colour choice is a big factor along with an all-inclusive design, and research suggests that changing tastes mean that visual aesthetics are likely to become as important as technology and functionality. A number of design factors should be considered within the washroom environment particularly relating to the needs of people with visual or hearing impairments. Therefore, in order to be the most user-friendly and compliant, design considerations should include aesthetics, durability and the user’s specific needs.
Franke has designed a number of products with all these elements in mind to provide a complete and practical solution. The range includes basins with coloured stripes, washbasins with integrated grab rails, and a range of matte finish stainless steel and blue epoxy coated grab rails in order to make the washroom experience as easy as possible.
Colour choice is an important factor within the washroom when catering to a user’s specific needs, for example products in the washroom that contrast visually with the surroundings tend to be more convenient to aid partially sighted people. The design of washrooms must allow for colour contrast between main features of the washroom in order to comply with the Doc M building regulations (Building Regulations Part M, 2010 and the Equality Act 2010), for the design of inclusive environments.
Franke’s solid surface VariusCare basins have a coloured sensory stripe around the edge, not only to match the design of a washroom but to contrast with the basin acting as a visual aid which can calm and aid the user.
The most prevalent colour of grab rails tends to be blue due to the contrast it gives against lighter coloured walls. Alternative colour grab rails are allowable providing that there is adequate tonal contrast between them and the surface they are mounted upon. Blue not only stands out against light walls, but it is also the colour of the mind and is serene and calming. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. With darker coloured walls, stainless steel or white grab rails would offer the desired contrast.
Specifying stylish less-abled washrooms
The look and feel of less-abled washrooms often tends to be compromised, due to little thought going into the design, and more thought going into the types of products that comply with Doc M regulations. The use of many different materials and colours can make the space appear cluttered and inconsistent when compared with the main washroom areas. By simply using complementary accessories and sanitaryware you can produce one consistent washroom design for all users.
The appearance of the washroom can often be dominated by the use Doc M compliant products however with new innovative products on the market, unsightly washroom experiences can be a thing of the past. New products have not only introduced style, but colour, quality and space into the modern less-abled washroom, providing a pleasant experience.
A perfect example would be the Franke solid surface bowl with integrated grab rails. These basins are made from granite composite material with a gelcoat layer, providing a non-porous surface offering the highest level of hygiene, leaving no surface for bacteria to accumulate. This not only incorporates a beautiful design into the washroom, but also saves space whilst still providing a practical solution.
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